The craziness continues!
My continuing flirtation with Aviation:
I've purchased a 90% complete Mitchell U-2 Flying Wing!
(Which in Aviation math usually means, 90% is left to be done.)
I decided to go ahead with the purchase based on (despite of) these pictures, two phone conversations with the owner and some intensive conversations with people who are intimately knowledgeable about the U-2. I am not buying from the original builder but rather from a second owner who hasn't done anything with the project in 5-6 years and no longer has the ability to carry on and finish the project.
|The original builder had
completed it enough to proceed with the initial high speed taxi
testing. He hit a runway light and damaged the right outboard wing
That ugly nose cone failed to make the trip home - good riddance! I planned on replacing it anyway.
|The Original builder has the plane registered with the EAA as an Ultra Light Aircraft.|
|The left item sitting in the sunbeam is the front deck - unfinished and unprotected from the humidity. It will have to be replaced. The canopy is to its right - fortunately the canopy's protective covering had never been removed so it should be in good shape - my fingers are crossed!|
|It has an engine! A 1980 Honda Odyssey - 250 FL. Approximately 18 HP at sea level (stock). High performance modifications or replacement maybe required for my altitude.|
|The second owner was not happy with the wiring so he removed the instrument panel and instruments and was planning on redoing the wiring. Over the years the front former has broken and will need to be repaired.|
Now to look at the damage caused by the runway light.
|This spot was hard to find
because it is on the bottom side of the wing and on the opposite side from
the runway accident damage. So we didn't see it in Oklahoma and
didn't find it when we cleaned the plane at home either.
It is up against the spar and it is in an awkward location for making a repair.
|This small area wasn't of
much concern - it is obviously well ahead of the spar so the spar should
not have been affected.
But the damage to the D-tube turns out to be more extensive than I thought.
|This was the trouble-some
spot. The damage starts at the leading edge and goes all the way
back to the spar. Everyone who looked at it had assured me that
neither the leading edge nor the spar was damaged.
Inspection at home confirmed that neither were damaged!
Even after going over these pictures in detail several times, I still wasn't quite prepared for how unfinished the project is. I couldn't help but wonder why the builder thought that it was ready for the initial testing - taxi, high speed taxi and "crow hops" but that is what observers said he tried to do. So upon arriving in Oklahoma I was surprised at how much of the project needs to be replaced, modified and finished before it will be ready to fly. I'm thinking it might take as much as a year to get into the air. We'll see!